How to Teach a Golden Retriever to Fetch? The Golden Guide

Like any other dogs, there are actually different ways to train a Golden Retriever. Starting on their puppyhood stage, training the Goldies should start right away. Whether it is potty training, giving commands, and socialization, we all want our Golden Retriever to be a well-trained pooch. Aside from that, fetching is one of the canine’s outdoor activities that they should have to know, but how to teach a Golden Retriever to fetch?

In this post, we will share a comprehensive guide on the proper ways to teach your Goldies in playing fetch. Moreover, we also have here some helpful tips and strategies that you may consider doing in order for you to successfully educate your pooch about this kind of training. So, let’s check them out below!

Step-by-step Guide on How to Teach a Golden Retriever to Fetch

Most doggy training and playing activities are actually fun and healthy for you and your furry buddy. One good example of this is playing fetch. But, sad to say, not all canines have the capacity to learn it right away. This because of the reason that some dogs do not really understand what is fetching all about.

Since, we know that not all dogs are equal in terms of their physical and mental aspects, other dogs have a natural instinct of loving to chase things. Yet, there are some dogs that love to chase but do not want to retrieve, even the Goldies have the innate nature of retrieving. Well, taking time on doing the things on how to teach a Golden Retriever to fetch requires lots of time and effort.

1-Select the appropriate toy

Basically, buying a toy for a Golden Retriever requires the consideration of the dog’s size and age. Aside from that, his ability to do things is also taken into account. Go for easy to grasp toys if your Goldies is quite younger or somehow older. However, a more challenging toy is a great pick for Golden Retriever that makes fetching a breeze.

how to teach a golden retriever to fetch

Here is a list of the most common toys used in teaching a Golden Retriever to fetch:

  • A regular tennis ball
  • Animal shaped plush toys
  • Retriever plastic
  • Rubber bumper
  • Soft and flexible disc or flyers
  • Squeaky footballs
  • Toy rope attached with rubber
*What to do if the Goldies is not interested?

There are some Golden Retrievers that are not interested in retrieving, even if it runs on their blood. With that, they may end up not interested in engaging in knowing the proper way of playing fetch. If this is the case, start by doing some basic steps:

  1. Get your Golden Retriever familiar with the toy through the tug-of-war game.
  2. Place some treats on the inner part of the toy to attract the Goldies.
  3. Tease the Golden Retriever using a toy in order to catch your pet’s attention.

Now that your Golden Retriever is already interested in the toy, begin doing the game of fetch.

2-Let the Golden Retriever hold the toy using its mouth

Check this procedure below on how to teach a Golden Retriever to fetch:

  1. Initially, position your Goldies in front of you using some treats and a toy that he really likes.
  2. Once they show interest in this, immediately reward him. This can be done if you notice that your pooch is looking at the toy or starting mouthing it.
  3. Afterward, elevate the levels of interest that you need your pooch to elicit in order for him to get the reward. Keep in mind that your objective here is for him to exhibit the mouthing behavior once you show the toy to him.
  4. The moment that your Golden Retriever mouth the toy, begin introducing the command phrase “take it”. Eventually, start to get your Goldies to be familiar with new objects.
  5. This time, consider requiring your pooch to actually grasp the toy using his mouth. In case you notice that the Goldies hold the toy for about a tenth of a second, reward him right away. Progressively necessitate more and more time from your dog. However, b very mindful not to leap bigger seconds of time that you will require from him. Remember your main concept here is to reinforce the appropriate doggy behavior.
  6. Move the toy near to the ground and immediately drop it off on the floor.
  7. Continue to say the command “take it” and don’t forget to reward your Goldies for holding the toy.

3-Giving off the toy

The next step on how to teach a Golden Retriever to fetch is to let him hand the toy back to you. This step is actually very essential but it is also important to allow the Goldies to grab the toy but not to let go of it easily. In order to successfully perform this, take the following steps below:

  1. Initially, position your Goldies in front of you using some treats and a toy that he really likes.
  2. Let your pooch get the toy from your hands or take it out from the floor once you say the command “take it”.
  3. Afterward, instruct the Golden Retriever by saying a new command “give”. Immediately reward your pooch the moment he lets go of the toy right after hearing the new command.
  4. Hold out your hand or you can also consider holding out a treat. This will generally encourage your Goldies to give back the toy to you. Keep in mind that you must have to bring more and more patience in performing this step.
  5. Continue doing the above step over and over until the time is right for your Golden Retriever to let go of the toy right away the moment they hear the “give” command. Moreover, always bear in mind not to voice out the word “give” as soon as the dog picks up the toy. Or else, you will allow him not to hold the toy.
  6. Repeat it again, but this time make sure to reward the Goldies for bringing the toy back in your hand.

4-Add some more distance

After achieving your objective of allowing your Goldies to return back the toy to you, it is now time to incorporate additional distance. See the following steps in doing that:

  1. Have a toy and some treats available on hand. Make sure that your Goldies like those items.
  2. Put the toy over the floor and instruct your pooch to “take it”. Immediately have some steps backward and voice out the word “give”. This will generally allow the Golden Retriever to make a few steps to move forward to you and give you the toy. Do not forget to reward your Golden Retriever for following your command.
  3. Do the above steps again and, on an increment, increase the distance needed by the Goldies to go to hand back the toy to you.
  4. This time, let the Golden Retriever fetch the toy rather than moving yourself. Start the fetching by throwing the toy at a short distance and say the word “fetch”. Make sure that you reward the Goldies for taking the toy and returning it back to you.
  5. Do the above step again elevating the distance required by your Golden Retriever to go in order to take the toy.
  6. In case the Goldies already master this, let them be familiar with new objects for fetching.

Tips and Strategies on How to Teach a Golden Retriever to Fetch

how to teach a golden retriever to fetch

Here are some helpful strategies that you can employ while doing the ways on how to teach a Golden Retriever to fetch:


Dogs, including the Golden Retrievers, have extreme ability to create an understanding of human’s jargons. In case you are using particular phrases and movements on a daily basis, the Goldies will able to adopt the appropriate behavior needed for each command.


Keep in mind that even if you are playing fetch, the Golden Retrievers can still get bored for some time. With this, it is best to make your pooch get familiar with new challenges such as holding them on their collar when you throw up the toy and let them wait to retrieve it. The introduction of the “wait” command is actually very important here so that the Goldies will able to know that it is already time to start retrieval.


Positive reinforcement is actually a good way to train a dog especially when you want to teach a Golden Retriever to fetch. Part of this reinforcement is giving of treats and hugs to your pooch during those encouraging situations. Never forget to reward your Goldies every after chasing a toy and returning it back to you. Moreover, doing this is one best way to let them know how you really appreciate the moment that you play fetching with him. That’s why it is very important to keep treats available on hand every time to make a nice surprise.


In case your dog does not have an innate nature of being a runner, it is also better to take off the toy once you throw it. You may be surprise that they may not resist the natural urge of running along with you. Remember to praise that doggy action and continue motivating him using positive affirmations.


While training and teaching a Golden Retriever to fetch, there may come a time that they fetch and retrieve but don’t give back the toy. For them, they are trying to create a new kind of game thinking that you will chase after them.

In case this will happen, immediately use the “drop it” command. This will basically establish a connection between the Goldies and a specific word and the required things that they need to do. If ever you offer treat to the Golden Retriever to drop a toy, they will most likely catch it on.


Actually, playing fetch is one best ways to get your Golden Retriever’s training to the next level. With this, you may consider introducing a new command such as “give it”. This time your Goldies will directly hand it over to you instead of dropping it on the ground. Moreover, this is also a great opportunity to educate the Goldies with the word “bring it” especially during times that they always drop the toy on their way back to you.

Also, remember to begin moving further from the Goldies just prior they drop the ball in case they do it early. Afterward, instruct them to be after you and say the command “bring it”. The repetitive action of doing this will help in teaching them the said command.


Always decide to pack up the fetching game prior to the moment that your dog loses interest in doing so. This way, you will generally prevent them from getting bored while playing. So, the next time they will play the fetching game, they will be generally excited about this.  

Things to Consider in Fetch Training

Generally, teaching a Golden Retriever to fetch requires some important things to keep in mind. Most likely, these are important factors or the required attitudes as a pet owner that will basically create this doggy training an easier process.


Playing fetch with your Goldies seems very easy and fun. But, teaching a Golden Retriever to play fetch is actually a little bit difficult task. Don’t get frustrated if you may find it hard in the first place. It is generally advisable to take a long-term approach to the training process. Just never stop teaching a Golden Retriever to fetch and let him do it over and over again.

Restriction of distractions

Teaching Goldies in playing fetch basically involves a number of distractions. These actually provide a great impact on the level of difficulty of the training and to maintain their full focus on you. Because of that, it is always important to reduce distractions that surround you and your Golden Retriever during this training.

Keep an easy environment

Okay, comparing the park and your backyard, there are obviously lesser distractions in your home. So, it basically means that it would be easiest to begin teaching a Golden Retriever to fetch at your home. Move on to the park when you think it is already time for them to graduate on this kind of training.

Stay on a regular schedule

So, even if your Golden Retriever is already educated about the fetching game, it is still important for them to play this on a regular basis. This will generally benefit him for mental and physical stimulation.


Generally, the age of the Golden Retriever has a great impact on the way they will be trained. A young Goldies has a higher possibility to be more hyperactive. Aside from that, this will be a big help as it may be easier to maintain the focus of the Goldies on their training.

Reasons behind the Importance of Teaching a Golden Retriever to Fetch

Although it is quite difficult to teach a Golden Retriever to fetch, doing it successfully will highly be very beneficial for them. Below are the benefits of playing fetching with your Goldies:


Golden Retriever is a dog breed that generally works with humans doing highly active tasks every day. Meaning to say, the Goldies basically needs plenty of exercises to have proper stimulation on both the physical and mental aspects. Actually, walking for about one hour is not that enough to maintain your Goldies activity level. So, playing fetch with them can be of great help.

2-Teach your Goldies with listening skills

The ways on how to teach fetching to a Golden Retriever require using of commands thus allowing your Goldies to listen very well in order to elicit the required action successfully. Moreover, it will also be very helpful for you in controlling your Goldies more easily.

3-Improve dog’s behavior

Generally, once the dog is well stimulated physically, bad doggy behaviors may be highly prevented from getting on along the way. Usually, this happens because of a lack of exercise. So, playing fetching of your Goldies is actually the great opposite.

4-Easily teach Golden Retriever new things

In case you successfully employ the proper way of teaching Goldies to fetch, you will find that it is an effective way to wear them out. It will actually be a big help in inculcating other things in them. The main goal here is to initially play fetch with him that can eventually wear them out. That way, it will help you to maintain your Golden Retriever’s concentration on you during the training process.

5-Rewarding for you as a pet owner

Just like what we’ve mentioned above, teaching a dog to play fetch is not an easy task. But once you get there, you will feel that it is actually rewarding after all. Aside from that, you will be proud of your Golden Retriever as well.

Final Words

Although it seems very easy when your Goldies play fetch, teaching a Golden Retriever to fetch is actually difficult. You really need more patience along with your training because your dog may not able to be interested on it for some time. Moreover, always remember to reward your Goldies either with treats or positive affirmations every time they did a job well done. Most of all, teaching a Goldies to fetch is highly beneficial for both you and your pooch. So, try to properly follow the ways stated above and see how enjoyable it will be for you and your Goldies.

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

Check Also

english cream golden retriever puppy vaccinations

Importance of English Cream Golden Retriever Puppy Vaccinations

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on English Cream Golden Retriever puppy vaccinations. English Cream Golden …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *